staying safe on social media

5 Tips for Protecting Yourself While Enjoying Social Media

staying safe on social media

Social media is a huge part of most of our lives. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter not only can we easily stay in touch with friends and family, but can also learn of community events, help develop a fledgling business, and more.

The downside to social media is that it provides another avenue for danger to enter your life. It seems like every few days, there’s another news story about how social media was used to target someone, either for bullying or break-ins. It’s enough to make anyone seriously consider deleting all of their social media accounts.

You’ll be pleased to know that as long as your careful and follow these tips, you can continue to enjoy your favorite social media sites and also keep you and your family safe.

Don’t Post Vacation Updates/Pictures Until you Get Home

Sure, you’re getting great photos of you vacation and you can’t wait to start showing them off to your friends and family, but hold off for a few days. Wait until you get home before loading everything onto your social media accounts. By not talking about your vacation until you get home, you don’t accidentally alert a would be burglar that your home is empty and vulnerable. The same is true for checking into events and businesses, just wait until your home.

Avoid Public Hot Spots

Ninety-five percent of the people who use public hotspots are good people, but there are a few that use these hotspots to hack into computers and steal a great deal of information, including the passwords to your social media account. Once they have the password, they can use it to create all sorts of havoc. If you have to use a public hot spot, make sure you log out of any site that requires a password.

Know Who You’re Associating With

When you get a friend request or suddenly have someone contacting you a lot through social media accounts, take some time to explore that person’s profile. If it has very little information and none that would indicate you have anything in common with the person, block them right away. These types of empty accounts are created by people who intend to steal your personal information and your friend’s lists so they can hack into even more accounts.

Take Care When Following or Posting Links

One of the easiest ways for hackers to access social media accounts is by posting faulty links. Each time one of these links is opened or shared, the hacker becomes a bigger, and more sinister, online presence. The best way to protect yourself from these types of predators is by only posting links that were created by a trusted source.

Update Your Passwords

Even if you only suspect that your account has been hacked or you get a report that a friend’s account has been hacked, you need to change you password. It’s the single best way to protect yourself. Make sure the password is a strong one that uses a mix of upper/lower case letters and numbers.

safe biking in california

Safe Biking in California

safe biking in california

Deciding to ride your bike wherever you need to go instead of taking your car is always a great idea. Not only is this choice better for the environment, it’s also a great way to stay in shape. Unfortunately, deciding to hop on your bike rather than into your car is risky. In 2016 840 cyclists were killed and in 2015, insurance companies dealt with 467,000 bicycle related injuries.

The best way to don’t become one of these statistics is by making safety your number one priority.

Increase your Visibility

One of the reasons so many cyclists are struck by cars is because the cyclist is hard to see. Attaching a few more reflectors and some flashing lights to your bike dramatically increase the odds of you making it home safely after your ride. You should also wear bright clothing that has reflective strips woven into the material. The brighter you are, the easier it is for passing motorists to see you coming.

If you’re biking at night, stick to well-lit areas.

Chose a Safe Route

Before hopping on your bike, grab a map and really think about what the safest route is. Look for routes that allow you to ride on some of the great California bike pats that exist all over the state. Try to avoid any areas that are heavily trafficked. It’s smarter to take a route that adds extra time to your commute than to run the risk of a car/bicycle collision.

Use Hand Signals

Hand signals are as important to cyclists as blinkers are to drivers. They let everyone know what move you’re about to do, which allows everyone around you to drive defensively. Using the hand signals might seem strange for a few days, but it won’t be long before it becomes second nature.

Be Aware of You Surroundings

Don’t assume that drivers are going to look out for you. You need to be aware of where they are and how they’re driving. If one is getting to close or doesn’t appear to know that you’re on the bike, you need to take defensive measures. The sooner you act, the greater the odds are that you’ll make it home in one piece.

Wear a Helmet

Your helmet is a huge safety tool. Not only does it protect you from head injuries if you fall off your bike, but also softens blows from things like low hanging tree limbs. Having a helmet on if you’re in an accident decreases the odds of you losing conciseness and increases the odds of you being able to make decisions that help you get out of the way of falling debris, oncoming traffic, and other dangers after you’ve fallen from your bike.

Stay safe and happy cycling!

open container laws california

Surprising Ways Booze and Cars Don’t Mix

open container laws california

It’s a well-known fact that you’re not allowed to drive your car when you’re drunk, but there are a few laws that some people don’t know that prove booze and cars don’t mix.

No Open Containers in the Car. Period!

Even if you haven’t had a sip of booze, if there is an open container in the vehicle with you and you get pulled over, you’ll find yourself in deep legal trouble. The Liquor Licence Act prohibits any alcohol in the front seat at all. The only exception to this is if you’re driving a pickup truck that lacks a backseat or indoor cargo area, or lock box. It doesn’t matter if the container is sealed or not, it can’t be within reach of the driver.

It’s worth noting, that it’s never legal to drive with a container that contains booze and is unsealed. So, if you’re returning cans and bottles, make sure each one is completely empty before you load up your car.

Booze at Tailgate Parties isn’t Legal

Everyone loves a good tailgate part, but you should know that the case of beer you plan on splitting with your buddies, you’re breaking the law. The law states that the only places you can legally consume alcohol is while on a private property or at a public place that has a liquor license. While the stadium does have a liquor license, it doesn’t extend to the parking lot.

You should also know that you’re not legally allowed to buy a six pack or bottle of wine and drink it in the grocery store parking lot. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in your car or on the side walk, the cop who spots you can arrest you.

Getting Into Your Car Could Result in a DUI

Climbing into your car to sleep for a few hours after you’ve had a little too much to drink might seem like a perfectly good idea to you, but if the key is in your pocket (or anywhere else on you or in the car) you’ll get charged with a DUI. The cop and prosecutor will state that you intended to drive (even if you didn’t.) If you decide to sleep it off in your car, it’s in your best interest to give your key to a friend or find a secure hiding place that’s far from your vehicle. Once you’re inside the car, you can lock yourself in and take a nice long nap. When you’ve sobered up, fetch the key, and drive home.

The One Exception

The only exception to drinking while in a motorized vehicle is motor homes. You still can’t operate one while driving, but as long as it’s parked in someplace like an RV park, you can sit inside of it (but not in the driver’s seat) and enjoy a nightcap.

rules of the road california

Truly Weird Rules of the Road

rules of the road california

Drivers training is the time when you learn what things you can and can’t do while behind the wheel, however, it turns out that there are a few California road rules your driver’s training instructor failed to mention.

The Road Isn’t the Place to Take a Nap

Most of us have had a time when we found we were just too tired to keep driving. The simplest solution is to pull over somewhere and grab a quick power nap. If road fatigue strikes you while you’re traveling through Eureka California, it’s in your best interest to find a fast food place or nice rest area before parking. The town has a strict law stating that while you’re there, you’re breaking the law each time you use the road as a bed. While it’s likely that the creators of the law were trying to discourage anyone from laying down on the asphalt, it’s possible that if an police officer stops to find out why your car is parked on the side of the road and catches you napping, they may decide to issue you a ticket.

The Road is Meant for Rutabagas

There was a time when Chico California was looking at their annual budget and trying to figure out how they could tighten things up. One of the decisions the budgetary committee made was to lower their annual crop dusting bill. They decided that one of the best ways to do this was passing a law that makes it illegal to plant rutabagas in or near the roads. So, if you have a yen for home grown rutabaga and live in Chico, keep your gardening efforts contained to your own property.

Keep Your Margaritas in Their Glass

Hermosa Beach, California town officials are trying to keep the roads and peoples’ vehicles free of the damage done by salt. This effort prompted them to pass a law that makes it illegal to spill margaritas on the any Hermosa Beach street. So, finish that drink before heading outside.

Keep Your Entire Body in the Vehicle

Rumor has it that the reason Glendale California’s town officials opted to pass a law making it illegal for anyone to jump out of their car while it’s traveling 65mph is due to pressure that was being put on them by insurance lobbyists. The reason the law was passed isn’t nearly as important as the knowledge that if you’re passing through Glendale and are suddenly struck by an overwhelming urge to leap from your moving vehicle, you should check your speedometer.

Did You Know There Are Laws Regarding Window Tints on Vehicles

Did You Know There Are Laws Regarding Window Tints on Vehicles?

Did You Know There Are Laws Regarding Window Tints on Vehicles

Here in the sunshine state, we love the Sun. We especially love the sun when we’ve been trapped in inside the past few days due to cold, dreary weather. Sunshine is best experienced with fresh air, and walking along the beach. Of course, there are other peacefully scenarios where the Sun’s rays make the moment all the better. Let’s face the facts, Californians love their sunshine.

Well, most of the time. There are some occasions when we don’t appreciate the Sun. When the Sun shines right into the window of your car as you are driving in the morning or evening, seeing the road can become difficult. When this happens, your ability to drive safely is drastically decreased. The other time the Sun isn’t appreciated is when it’s baking you as you sit in traffic on a summer afternoon.

If you have a love/hate relationship with the Sun, as most of us do, you may be considering getting your windows tinted. Window tint is a great way to reduce the amount of sunlight inside your car. However, before you go and get your windows tinted, there are some rules you need to be aware of. According to Tinting Laws, California has had laws regarding window tinting since 1999. The laws are mainly about how dark and how reflective your window tint can be. The following are in regards to window tint for cars:

  • Windshield: Non-reflective tint is allowed on the top 4 inches of the windshield.
  • Front Side windows: Aftermarket film must allow more than 88% of light in, or minimum 70% VLT if combined with factory-tinted windows.
  • Back Side windows: Any darkness can be used.
  • Rear Window: Any darkness can be used.

California does have several other important laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to window tinting. They include the following:

  • Side Mirrors: Dual side mirrors are required if the rear window is tinted.
  • Restricted Colors: California tint laws do not permit using red, amber or blue tint colors. Side windows must be colorless.
  • Certificates: Manufacturers of film must certify the film they sell in the state and the driver is required to have the certificate in his/her possession.
  • Stickers: State law does require a certificate or a sticker from the installing company and the manufacturer’s name and address.
  • Medical Exceptions: California law allows medical exemptions for lower tint on all windows since September 2017.

Window tinting is a great way to still enjoy the sunshine and keep your vehicle cool. However, there are laws stating how much tinting is allowed. Being able to control the amount of sunshine that is let into your car is a good way to prevent yourself from baking in traffic. Have fun enjoying the sunshine from the safety of your tinted window vehicle.

Why Should You Buckle Up in the Car

Why Should You Buckle Up in the Car?

Why Should You Buckle Up in the Car

Following the rules can seem lame, or uncool at times. However, rules are in place for a reason, and that reason is usually for our own safety. For example, the seatbelt laws in California are in place to protect us. For some reason, there are people who think it’s uncool to wear a seatbelt. They fail to realize that being dead is more uncool. Seatbelt laws in California are as follows according to the California Department of Motorized Vehicles:

  • Vehicles must contain properly functioning seat belts.
  • Any operator of a motor vehicle must wear a safety belt at all times.
  • All passengers 8 years old and older that are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller, are required to wear a seat belt.
  • Children that are 8 years old and younger that are under 4 feet 9 inches tall must use a child safety seat.

Wearing a seatbelt can mean the difference between life and death in most cases. A seatbelt can hold you in your seat, and prevent you from being ejected from the car. We often overlook how much a car crash can affect us, and a seatbelt prevents our momentum from hurting us even more. This is why commercials are so adamant about people buckling up when in a vehicle.

Buckling up seems like a smart, reasonable thing to do, so why don’t we all do it? When we don’t wear a seatbelt while in the car, we are risking our lives. When we choose to not buckle up, we better have a good reason. The most common reason why people don’t buckle up, is because they’re in a hurry. They are running late for an important event, and they need to get going now. They do not take the few extra seconds to fasten their seatbelt before hurrying off. The thing is, that little inconvenience can save their lives.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) wants you be safe. Even though they may seem like bad guys for pulling you over to make sure you buckle up and drive safe, they are simply looking out for you. That is why they have several rules and laws in place for your safety. The laws become even more important when they involve the safety of children. The following is a list of child safety laws from the CHP website:

  • Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds or is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat.
  • Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt.
  • Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.

It’s simple to take five seconds of your time to buckle up. Wearing a seatbelt is lifesaving, and should be considered cool. If for some reason it’s uncool to your friends, family, or kids, make it cool for them. Explain that you value their life, and want them to buckle up so that they will be around for a long time. Follow the law, and buckle up to save your life.

Is There a Difference between Jails and Prisons

Is There a Difference between Jails and Prisons?

Is There a Difference between Jails and Prisons

A vast majority of people out there can go their entire lives without ever having to deal with jails or prisons. These people can consider themselves lucky. However, due to this fact, many people do not know that there is a difference between jails and prisons. The two terms do not refer to the same thing.

A person being sent to jail is very different from a person being sent to prison. In one instance, a person may be able to get bailed out, while in the other, the person is stuck until they have served out their sentence.

Jails are correctional facilities that are used as temporary holding. People who are in jail were either, recently arrested and awaiting trial, or were found guilty and are serving a sentence that is shorter than one year. Since people awaiting trial end up in jail, some jail inmates can be bailed out. Due to the short-term nature of jails, they are usually smaller and not as heavily funded as prison. They also have less security since the inmates housed in these facilities have a lower threat level than those housed in prison.

Prisons, on the other hand, are used as long-term housing for convicted criminals. A person serving time in a prison has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve more than one year in incarceration. These facilities are much larger than jails and hold more inmates. They receive more funding, offer more facilities to inmates, and have higher security than jail. Once a person is in jail, they will remain there until their sentence has been served.

A person ending up in prison is much worse than ending up in jail. If a person is in jail they won’t be there for too long since jail sentences are never longer than a year. If the person is just awaiting their day in court, they will likely be able to bail out of jail.

Graduating High School Is Easier Than You May Realize

Graduating High School Is Easier Than You May Realize

Graduating High School Is Easier Than You May Realize

Everybody wants to graduate. Kids want to graduate from high school. Young adults want to graduate from college. Adults want to graduate from grad school. Even parents want their kids to graduate. Everyone wants to graduate something, and there is one thing that we all can graduate from, and that is high school. If you’re a parent of a kid who is currently in high school, or if you’re a high school dropout, don’t give up hope on graduation.

Having kids in high school can be a daunting task. You have to watch them grow up and make their own decisions. This can be frustrating when they decide to blow off doing homework and other school projects. Luckily being the parent of the family gives you the authority to encourage them to do their work, or else. It’s one of the perks of being a parent after all. Even if they do complete their work, you may still worry if they’ll ever graduate high school.

There are several steps high school students have to complete in order to graduate in the state of California. The California Department of Education (CDE) set forth the standard that is required of students in order to graduate. Unfortunately, one of those requirements includes math. For starters, all high school students have to complete Algebra I or a course equivalent to that in order to graduate. Math is a touchy subject for a lot of people, and it can intimidate a lot of them into not passing the class.

Something that is exciting, is the fact that California high school students are no longer required to take the exit exam. The CASHEE, or the California High School Exit Examination, was eliminated in 2015. The CASHEE was a long series of tests given to students, similar to the standardized tests given near the end of every school year. However, unlike the standardized tests, the CASHEE determined if a student could graduate or not.

If you’re a parent, or a person who is looking to finally graduate from high school in California, there are plenty of tips and information for you at the CDE’s website. The state of California wants people to get an education. According to US News California currently ranks 26th amongst the states, which is why the state is making a push to improve its education. Everybody wants to graduate, and luckily you can graduate too.


Things to Know When Traveling this Season


It’s that magical time a year again when families get together to celebrate the holidays. Modern transportation has made getting together for family traditions easier. However, traveling can still be tricky for some. Navigating airports, roadways, and bus/train stations can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips and tricks to make traveling this season easier.

Buy transportation tickets as early as possible. Whether you plan on traveling by bus, plane, or train, the later you wait to buy your ticket, the more in demand that seat becomes. With a higher demand the prices are likely to sky rocket.

Book your plane tickets strategically. According to Fare Compare, the best day to buy a plane ticket is Tuesday around 3 p.m. eastern time. This is when airlines release their competitive prices for seats.

However released an article, Actually, Tuesday Isn’t the Cheapest Day to Buy Plane Tickets, and suggests that buying a ticket on Tuesday doesn’t always guarantee the best price. However, Time highly recommends that people avoid purchasing tickets on Sunday, and suggests that Thursday is another great day to purchase tickets. Fare Compare also recommends traveling mid-week for cheaper seats. This is because traveling during the week is less popular for families who wish to take advantage of the weekend and miss as little school or work as possible.

Schedule your trip so you arrive early. Many people forget that everyone else is trying to go home for the holidays too. With unpredictable weather and traffic, it is common to experience delays in your travel plans, so be prepared!

Hand sanitizer will save you this holiday season. It can help protect you from unwanted germs, this is the season for colds and flus after all. No one wants to be missing out on all the grand festivities.

Dress comfortably while traveling this season. Traveling is already stressful enough, at least do it in comfort. If you’re flying, or driving long distance, being comfortable can help take the edge off.


Tips and Tricks for Family Gatherings


The Holidays can be stressful with trying to figure out how to cook a turkey, to making travel arrangements. To add to the stress, holidays also involve major family time. It’s time to get together with family members you haven’t seen in years. This can be the most stressful part of the holidays for some.

WebMD suggests that this time of year is stressful because it brings up unwanted memories and unhealthy relationships. Unwanted memories could consist of grief from a family member passing, embarrassing family stories, and uncomfortable situations for you. Unhealthy relationships would be considered relationships where you don’t feel like you’re being understood by the other. Another unhealthy relationship may be where you are constantly being harassed by someone.

Psychology Today released an article saying that they are three choices in dealing with an unhealthy relationship:

  • Maintain the Status Quo
  • Try to Change the Other
  • Change Yourself

If you decide to maintain the status quo, you’ll have to accept that your relationship with this person will not change. This means accepting that Aunt Karen will always make you feel bad for not having a significant other, a mansion, three different “useful” master degrees, and a “real job”.

If you decide to try to change the other person you will need to keep an open mind, and prepare for any possible outcome. Even though you may want to yell at Aunt Karen for always belittling you, this is not the most productive way to change the relationship.

Finally, if you decide to give into Aunt Karen’s demands and change yourself, you’re taking the high road. By changing yourself you can either change your mind set about the situation, or change your feelings.

Whatever option you decide to go with this holiday season, just remember to have fun and enjoy those family members that don’t get on your last nerves.